Originally Posted by Trekchick
We've had several members talk about custom fitting knee braces after or during medical procedures. My question is, how tight should a knee brace be.
Assuming that you don't want to cut off circulation, but you need it to be firm enough to support the knee.
I have nothing to back this up with (i.e. education) other than this is my opinion.
Just like your boots without the wiggle room for your toes. It also depend on what type of brace you are talking about and why you wear it. Most folks here I would guess use and ACL brace while others just want a little support/warmth/compression from a neoprene one.
On an ACL one, it should be snug but not constricting. Most of the time, mine feels like my boots do; I can wear them all day without issue but I'm very happy when they come off. I have made some modifications to mine and I don't always follow the "mounting" instructions in order, but I do make sure each and every time it is in the correct spot and feel right. I then stand straight up and extend my leg to ROM and adjust the strap in the back above the knee so it doesn't constrict. Usually after surgery, there is a "stop" in the hinge so you can't go past 90% straight. It's to protect the new acl from hyper-extending and/or your meniscus if you don't have an acl. I reset my to 0 so I can get 100% extended, but I'm not wearing it to protect and acl. I'm using it for support to prevent swelling. It is more of an exoskeleton. I'm still not sure why (believe it is my meniscus) but too much pounding and my knees swell. I wear compression tights and the braces and my knees are fine.
I think the tightness also depends on muscle mass of the leg. I'm not sure but I would suspect that a leg on a body with a low BMI would fit in a brace differently to a high BMI to get the same effect. Again, this is speculation.
The other critical thing to watch, is that the hinge is in the correct location.
Hope this helps,